An Indonesian warship has opened fire on a group of Chinese vessels, injuring one fisherman
Incident threatens to further escalate tensions between Beijing and Jakarta over the disputed waters
An Indonesian navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Laut, or TNI-AL) Kapitan Pattimura (Parchim I)-class corvette has fired upon a group of 12 Chinese fishing ships after the vessels were detected in waters around the Natuna islands region, the service said in a statement on 18 June.
The corvette, KRI Imam Bonjol was said to have opened fire after the group of fishing vessels failed to respond to instructions given. “After several warning shots were ignored, [ Imam Bonjol ] placed a shot across the bow of one of the 12 fishing vessels,” said the service, adding that only then did the fishing vessel that was fired upon complied.
The Chinese vessel, which has been identified by IHS Maritime as Qiong Dan Zhou 19038 , has since been detained with its crew of six men and a woman on the TNI-AL’s base at Ranai in Riau Islands. The rest of the fishing vessels in the group successfully fled the scene, said the service.
In a further statement on the incident, Vice-Admiral Edi Sucipto, the TNI-AL’s head of public affairs, reiterated that the waters around the Natuna islands region are part of Indonesia’s territory and stressed that maritime patrols will continue in the area.